Archives for category: Freedom of Speech

Axios Dallas writes about a new phenomenon in the battle by religious extremists to take control of public schools. A conservative Christian wireless provider is funding the school board campaigns of like-minded religious zealots. It recently won control of four school boards.

It’s bizarre to think of businesses branding themselves by religion. The imagination runs wild: buy your gasoline at a Catholic service station or a Methodist one? Buy your coffee at a Baptist coffee shop or a Muslim one? Buy groceries at a fundamentalist grocery store? The possibilities are endless.

Given the reverence that the current Supreme Court has for religious expression, it would be unlikely to object to evangelical Christians imposing their views on others in public schools.

Patriot Mobile, a North Texas-based cell phone service reseller that markets itself as “America’s only Christian conservative wireless provider” was the driving financial force behind the election of 11 new school board members in four suburban North Texas districts.

Driving the news: Patriot Mobile helped elect the majority of members in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, which recently passed a controversial new set of conservative policies dubbed “Don’t Say Trans.”

Why it matters: The policies, which include prohibitions on teachers discussing anything related to critical race theory or “gender fluidity,” are part of a major push from both Patriot Mobile’s political arm — Patriot Mobile Action — and the state GOP.

  • “Ultimately we want to expand to other counties, other states and be in every state across the nation,” Leigh Wambsganss, executive director of Patriot Mobile Action and vice president of government and media affairs at Patriot Mobile, told conservative talk show host Mark Davisearlier this summer.

The big picture: Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon has told conservatives that to “save the nation,” they need to target school boards, repeatedly spotlighting Patriot Mobile.

  • “The school boards are the key that picks the lock,” Bannon said during an interview with Patriot Mobile’s president, Glenn Story, at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas earlier this month, according to NBC News.

Between the lines: School districts are the front line in the political battle for Texas. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke has rooted his campaign on school funding and safety, while Gov. Greg Abbott has made fears of conservative parents a cornerstone of his bid for re-election.

What happened: Earlier this year, Patriot Mobile Action hired two national GOP consulting firms — Vanguard Field Strategies and Axiom Strategies — to help target school board races in the suburbs of Tarrant County, the largest conservative county in the country.

  • The PAC spent more than $600,000 backing 11 school board candidates running in Southlake, Grapevine-Colleyville, Keller and Mansfield — all of whom won their races.
  • The group sent out thousands of political mailers warning that sitting school board members were endangering students with “woke” ideologies. One ad featured a photo of a child and the words, “They’re not after you, they’re after me.”

What we’re watching: Last week the Republican Party of Texas made a fundraising appeal praising GCISD’s new policies, saying the party is “working to bring this conservative policy” to every school district in the state.

John Merrow’s title is sarcastic. Of course he wants you to read banned books, and he is deeply concerned about the large number of eligible voters—especially young people—who don’t bother to vote.

When someone on Twitter posted a list of 25 popular books that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had supposedly banned from the state’s public schools, people went crazy. The list included Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” and Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time.”

Below is a screenshot of the list. How many of these books have you read? Have your children read most of them? What on earth is going on in Florida?

People familiar with DeSantis’s efforts to restrict classroom discussion of controversial topics had no trouble believing that he would try to prevent young people from reading controversial or challenging books. If DeSantis did draw up a list, these books might well be on it.

But the list is a fake, a clever satire.

Many people were fooled, including teacher union President Randi Weingarten and “Star Wars” actor Mark Hamill. Hamill’s screenshot of the list amassed more than 100,000 likes and 24,000 retweets.

(Add my name to the list of those who were taken in.)

Like all good satire, that fake list of banned books is rooted in truth, because book banning is real and growing. Florida school districts have banned around 200 books, according to a report published by PEN America, a nonprofit that tracks book banning in the U.S. Pen America ranks Florida third among US states for banning books, trailing only Texas and Pennsylvania.

We are in the midst of a pandemic of book banning, so it’s hard to imagine any title that would never be banned by some zealous or timid school board or ignorant legislator.

One way to stop this outbreak of censorship is to get active, vote, attend school board meetings, run for school board. Passivity and complaining is a losing strategy.

Time to turn back the rising tide of incipient fascism.

Federal Judge David Walker in Florida blocked the part of Governor DeSantis’s WOKE Act that prevents private employers from teaching their employees about equity, diversity and inclusion, saying it violates First Amendment protections. The ACLU is also suing to protect the rights of educators.

The Hill reports:

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida Chief Judge Mark Walker issued a preliminary injunction blocking the private employer provisions in the law, known as the “Stop WOKE Act,” saying it violates free speech protections under the First Amendment and that it violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause for being impermissibly vague.

“Recently, Florida has seemed like a First Amendment upside down,” Walker wrote in the ruling, comparing the law to the fictional “upside down” in the Netflix series “Stranger Things.”

“Normally, the First Amendment bars the state from burdening speech, while private actors may burden speech freely,” the Obama-appointed judge continued. “But in Florida, the First Amendment apparently bars private actors from burdening speech, while the state may burden speech freely.”

DeSantis’s office said it will appeal the decision.

“Judge Walker has effectively ruled that companies have a First Amendment right to instruct their employees in white supremacy,” said Taryn Feske, DeSantis’s communications director. “We disagree and will be appealing his decision.”

The law prevents workplaces from requiring employees to attend any activity that violates any of eight concepts, like instilling that someone bears “personal responsibility” for historic wrongdoings because of their race, color, sex or national origin.

DeSantis believes that teaching against racism means teaching white supremacy, which makes no sense at all.

The Deseret News has addditional details.

Using the acronym WOKE for Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees, the law was designed to combat “woke indoctrination” in Florida businesses and schools by prohibiting instruction that could make some people feel they bear “personal responsibility” for historic wrongdoings because of their race, sex or national origin, according to The New York Times.

The law, championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, prohibits employers in Florida from forcing workers to attend diversity training that would make them feel uncomfortable or guilty about their race because of historical events. It also bans any talk of advantages or disadvantages based on race….

What a constitutional scholar says:“Constitutional scholars like myself warned Florida that this had so many constitutional problems, even in drafting,” Stetson University law professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy told ABC Action News in Florida. “Under the First Amendment, the government doesn’t get to tell us what to think and this was couched in language that sounds as if it was about individual choice but it actually stops people from saying and learning certain concepts.

Torres-Spelliscy said she hopes the ruling discourages the governor and future governors from enacting “thought-control laws” the way DeSantis has.

I wrote recently about Amanda Jones, the librarian in Louisiana who is fighting back against censorship and harassment in court.

One of our regular readers said she belongs on the honor roll of this blog. He’s right.

Amanda Jones joins the honor roll for her courage and integrity in fighting censorship!

Her GoFundMe page is raising money for her legal defense. Consider helping her fight for free thought!

In Louisiana, a middle school librarian has said. “Enough is enough.” She is standing up and fighting against the vigilantes who have targeted school libraries.

Amanda Jones has filed a lawsuit against two men who have harassed her and other librarians.

Amanda Jones, a librarian at a middle school in Denham Springs, Louisiana, filed a defamation lawsuit Wednesday, arguing that Facebook pages run by Michael Lunsford and Ryan Thames falsely labeled her a pedophile who wants to teach 11-year-olds about anal sex.

Jones, the president of the Louisiana Association of School Librarians, was alarmed and outraged by the verbal attacks, which came after she spoke against censorship at a Livingston Parish Library Board of Control meeting. She said she’s suing the two men because she’s exhausted with the insults hurled at educators and librarians over LGBTQ materials.

“I’ve had enough for everybody,” Jones said in an interview. “Nobody stands up to these people. They just say what they want and there are no repercussions and they ruin people’s reputations and there’s no consequences.”

Lunsford did not respond to requests for comment. Thames declined to comment.

Nationwide, school districts have been bombarded by conservative activists and parents over the past year demanding that books with sexual references or that discuss racial conflict, often by authors of color or those who are LGBTQ, be purged from campuses. Those demands have slowly moved toward public libraries in recent months.

Thank you, Amanda Jones!

John Merrow sees a common thread in the educational philosophies of Hitler, Stalin, Castro and most red state governors: They want to control the beliefs of students. They want them to believe what they are told. They do not want them to think for themselves. They want to indoctrinate students. They “weaponize schools” by using them for thought control.

This is an important article. It shows how governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis are not interested in freedom of thought but in censorship. He and his confreres are moving us ever closer to fascism.

Merrow begins:

“Whoever has the youth has the future.” Adolf Hitler

“Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.” Josef Stalin

“Revolution and education are the same thing.” Fidel Castro

Like Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, and Fidel Castro, Vladimir Putin is following a well-trod path, using Russia’s 40,000 schools to train all Russian children to believe what they are told and follow orders. Here in some American states, public schools are also being weaponized, but in different ways….

Here in the United States, public education and public school teachers are squarely in the sights of some Republican politicians. Instead of echoing Putin or Hitler, they are waving the flag of “Parents’ Rights.”

Among the Republicans waging what should properly be called a war against public education are Governors Ron DeSantis of Florida, Bill Lee of Tennessee, Kay Ivey of Alabama, Greg Abbott of Texas, Brian Kemp of Georgia, Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, Doug Ducey of Arizona, Tate Reeves of Mississippi, Brad Little in Idaho, Eric Holcomb in Indiana, and Kim Reynolds of Iowa.

They are eagerly copying Glenn Youngkin, the conservative who was elected Virginia’s governor in 2021 largely because he presented himself as a staunch defender of parents and their children–and by extension the entire community–against ‘indoctrination’ by leftist teachers who, Youngkin said, were making white children feel guilty about being white.

So-called “Critical Race Theory” is not taught in public schools, but that’s not stopping the politicians from using it as a whipping boy. Florida’s DeSantis put it this way: “Florida’s education system exists to create opportunity for our children. Critical Race Theory teaches kids to hate our country and to hate each other. It is state-sanctioned racism and has no place in Florida schools.” And Florida has now banned a number of math textbooks, accusing the publishers of trying to indoctrinate children with Critical Race Theory.

A blogger who’s particularly upset, Michael McCaffrey, put it this way:

“Indoctrinating children with CRT is akin to systemic child abuse, as it steals innocence, twists minds, and crushes spirits. Parents must move heaven and earth to protect their children, and they can start by coming together and rooting out CRT from their schools by any and all legal means necessary.”

In the name of “defeating” CRT, Tennessee’s Governor Bill Lee has invited Hillsdale College, a conservative Christian institution based in Michigan, to create 50 charter schools in Tennessee with public funds, including $32 million for facilities. As the New York Times reported, Governor Lee believes these schools will develop “informed patriotism” in Tennessee’s children.

It’s not just CRT. Republican politicians are also campaigning against transgender athletes, transgender bathrooms, mental health counseling, any discussion of sexuality, and the “right” of parents to examine and veto school curriculums. While I have written about these issues here, it’s important to remember that less than 2% of students identify as transgender or gender-fluid…

It’s not difficult to connect the dots: Republicans are attacking public schools, accusing them of ‘grooming’ their children to be gay, of making white children ashamed of their race, of undermining American patriotism and pride, and more. One goal is to persuade more parents to home-school their children, or enroll them in non-union Charter Schools, or use vouchers to pay non-public school tuition. Public school enrollment will drop, teachers will be laid off, teacher union revenue will decline, and less money will flow to Democrats.

But it seems to me that their real target is not parents but potential voters who do not have any connection with public education. Remember that in most communities about 75% of households do not have school-age children; many of these folks are older, and older people vote! If Republicans can convince these potential voters that schools cannot be trusted, they will win.

And Republicans seem to be winning. Teacher morale is low, and teachers are leaving the field in droves. Florida and California will have significant teacher shortages this fall, and one state, New Mexico, had to call in the National Guard to serve as substitutes. Enrollment is declining at institutions that train their replacements, and student enrollment in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles public schools dropped for the second consecutive year.

I began by contrasting the approach of dictators like Putin, Hitler and Stalin with the strategies being employed by Republican politicians. However, there are also disturbing similarities. Florida’s DeSantis, now polling strongly for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, recently signed legislation requiring public high schools to devote 45 minutes to teaching students about “the victims of Communism.”

Florida has also passed two bills limiting classroom conversations about race and racism and restricting younger students’ access to lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity, but Florida is not alone. The newspaper Education Week reports that fifteen states have passed similar legislation over the past year, and 26 others have introduced bills attempting to restrict these lessons.

Forbidding discussion of Topic X and mandating discussion of Topic Y:  That’s exactly what Mao, Hitler, Stalin, and Castro did, and it’s precisely what Putin is now doing.  

Please post your thoughts here:

Lloyd Lofthouse, author, former Marine, and former teacher, explains what it means to be woke. Some Republican politicians—notably Ron DeSantis— are trying to suppress “wokeness.”

Lloyd writes:

Anyone that attacks what’s known as “woke ideology” is supporting zombie thinking and belongs to a fascist cult of ignorance.

Wokeness means someone that is highly literate, well educated, well read, is a life long learner, questions claims and uses critical thinking, problem solving and rational logic to find out if there is any truth to what these fascist zombies are shouting.

Question: Are you woke?

I am tired of rightwing politicians distorting our language to suit their bigoted ideology.

They have the nerve, for example, to quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he spoke at the March on Washington in 1963 and said he hoped for the day when his children would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Dr. King was projecting a vision of a world without racism, when people would see each other as friends, neighbors, and fellow human beings.

But rightwing politicians twist his words to insist that we should ignore racism right now, stop teaching about it, and pretend it does not exist. They use his words to justify prohibitions on teaching about or discussing the racism in the here and now. They use his appeal for an unrealized future to blind us to a cruel present.

I propose that we make a conscientious effort to reclaim the plain meaning of words.

One of the hot-button words that has been appropriated by rightwing politicians is “woke.” They are trying to turn it into a shameful word. I looked up the definition of WOKE. It means being aware of injustice and inequality, specifically when referring to racism. I strive to be aware of injustice and inequality and racial discrimination and to do whatever I can to change things for the better. Shouldn’t we all do that?

My acronym for WOKE is “Wide Open to Knowledge and Enlightenment.”

What would you say about someone who is not WOKE? They are “asleep,” “unconscious,” “indifferent.” They are “Mind Closed, Mouth Open.”

Yes, I am WOKE. I want Dr. King’s dream someday to be true. It is not true now.

Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida believes it is terrible to be woke. He demeans those he says are woke. He claims that the woke are politically correct and are intimidated by organized efforts to reduce racism in schools and the workplace. He thinks that being woke is so dreadful that it must be made illegal.

He urged the Florida legislature to pass “anti-woke” legislation in March. And they did. The so-called STOP WOKE” Act means “Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act.”

This legislation is intended specifically to silence discussions and study of racism. It bans the teaching of critical race theory in schools and colleges and bans diversity training in the workplace.

Governor DeSantis doesn’t want people to be opposed to injustice and inequality. He doesn’t want them to be opposed to racism. Such awareness makes some people feel uncomfortable, he says. We should teach nothing that makes anyone uncomfortable.

Who is uncomfortable when racism is discussed? In my experience, the people who don’t want any discussion of racism are either racist or are embarrassed by their acts of racism in the past.

To protect the tender sensibilities of white people, we must avoid any discussion that makes them or their children uncomfortable. We must not take the risk that they or their children might feel uncomfortable for terrible things that happened long ago. So don’t talk about them. Don’t read books that discuss slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, lynchings, or segregation. Don’t mention the distant past or the wrongs of the present. Don’t dare to talk about discrimination against black people, or the passage of laws that impair their right to vote, or the persistence of racially segregated schools.

Not only is it wrong to be woke, in the eyes of those who prefer to stifle all recognition of racial discrimination, it is absolutely forbidden for teachers or professors to examine the causes of racism and its persistence today in our laws and policies. Making a conscientious effort to understand the causes of racism and to seek remedies is called “critical race theory” (CRT).

The attacks on critical race theory are intended to intimidate teachers and to prevent students from learning about racism, past or present.

In states that have banned the teaching of critical race theory, the legislators can’t define CRT, so they make it illegal to teach “divisive concepts” or anything that makes some students “uncomfortable.”

When a white supremacist massacred ten Black people in Buffalo, New York, teachers in anti-CRT states were not sure if they were allowed to teach about what happened. Would they lose their jobs if they taught the truth?

The states that prohibit the teaching of critical race theory are banning the teaching of honest history, for fear that someone might be uncomfortable when they learn the facts about what was done to Black people in our history. Some states have explicitly banned Nikole Hannah-Jones’ “The 1619 Project,” because it might make some white people uncomfortable. I may be wrong, but I can’t recall a state that ever passed a law censoring a single book. This book is obviously very powerful and very frightening to those who feel the need to ban it. It cannot be refuted by the DeSantis faction so it must be banned.

The same states that want to ban honest teaching about racism are also banning books about gender identity and sexuality. The legislatures in Republican states think that the schools are filled with pedophiles. The rightwing zealots claim that teachers are “grooming” their students to become gay or transgender. They pass laws like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, which bans teaching about gender identity and sexuality in grades K-3 (where gender identity and sexuality are not taught) and tolerate only “age-appropriate” discussion of gender identity and sexuality in other grades.

Like the STOP WOKE law, the “Don’t Say Gay” law is vague, which makes teachers fearful of teaching anything related to gender or sexuality. If schools can’t teach about gender identity, then they cannot teach about married couples of any gender. If you take them literally, you should not refer to Moms and Dads, men and women. Dare we teach young children about heterosexuality? Apparently not, if you follow the letter of the law.

The groups that are behind these attacks are familiar to us. They are Moms for Liberty, Moms for America, Parents Defending Freedom, and a bevy of other groups funded by rightwing billionaires.

Not coincidentally, these are the same groups that are fighting to pass funding for charter schools and vouchers.

What is their motive? They want to destroy not only freedom of thought but public schools.

Recently, I watched the far-right provocateur Chris Rufo give a speech at Hillsdale College. He called on his audience to act in a speech titled “Laying Siege to the Institutions.” (Please watch it: Rufo claims credit for making CRT a national issue. He boasts that a few years ago, CRT had virtually no public recognition. Thanks to his lies and distortions, most people have heard of it and some think it is a radical, Marxist plot to destroy America by turning race against race. Because he says so.

This is absurd.

For the past four decades, CRT was known as a law school study of the origins of systemic racism and the extent to which it is embedded in our laws and institutions. Its founder was Derrick Bell of Harvard Law School. He was a friend of mine. He was not a Marxist or a radical. He was a great American who wanted America to live up to its promises. Unlike Rufo, he didn’t believe in gag orders and bans. He believed in study, scholarship, debate and discussion.

Chris Rufo offers one solution to all the problems he sees: school choice.

To him, the public school is the most dangerous of all institutions, because it teaches equality, justice, and critical thinking. It teaches students to respect others. It teaches them to abhor racism and other forms of bigotry. It teaches students about American history without censoring the unpleasant and horrifying parts. The laws passed to ban CRT and to gag teachers have one purpose: Teach lies, not honest history.

Here is what I suggest.

Fight censorship.

Fight privatization of our public assets.

Read without fear.

Read “The 1619 Project,” which will open your minds. Read critiques of “The 1619 Project” by reputable scholars, not by rightwing ideologues.

Think about it. Discuss and debate the issues.

Say gay.

Stand up to the craven politicians who attack your freedoms.

Vote against them when you have the chance.

Fearlessly defend the freedom to read, the freedom to teach, and the freedom to learn.

Work towards the day when we treat each other with respect.

Wake up.

Republicans like to complain about “cancel culture,” but they are its biggest practitioners. If it were up to them, Democrats would be completely silenced, as would gay students and teachers who want to teach honestly about racism.

Beto O’Rourke is running against Republican Governor Gregg Abbott, and he’s discovering that many venues in red districts won’t allow him to speak because he is a Democrat.

The Texas Monthly describes what happened to Beto in Comal County, a deep red district.

When Democratic candidates for statewide office tour Texas, an atmosphere of doom and despair typically haunts their campaigns, like a pack of wolves shadowing a wounded elk. In 2014, I rode on state senator Leticia Van de Putte’s campaign bus as she embarked on a multiday expedition to South Texas toward the end of her race for lieutenant governor. The bus, which departed from San Antonio, ran for two hours before breaking down around Falfurrias. A few weeks later, she lost by nearly twenty points.

Beto O’Rourke’s first statewide campaign, when he challenged Ted Cruz for a U.S. Senate seat, by contrast, felt enchanted—the political equivalent of a Disney-animated romp with singing woodland creatures. For a year and a half, O’Rourke roamed the state, putting thousands of miles on a truck and a minivan that did not break down, visiting towns other statewide politicians of both parties wouldn’t waste time in. He played with dogs, livestreamed even the smallest events, and had (sometimes awkward) meetings with local elected officials in conservative parts of Texas, trying to find areas of agreement. He spoke often, and in a pretty idealistic manner, about his hope that Democrats he fired up in small red towns would be empowered to create lasting change in their communities.

It felt wrong, somehow. I chatted with O’Rourke about how smoothly things seemed to be going after a picture-perfect event at the hip tent-hotel El Cosmico in 2017, in the decidedly not red town of Marfa, on one of those summer nights in West Texas when the sun sets in a peach-colored sky a little after nine. When I asked him what he would do if protesters—anti-abortion, pro-gun, whatever—started actively disrupting his events, denying him space in the public square and threatening the premise of his campaign, he said he would engage them in dialogue. That struck me as naive, but to my surprise those protests never materialized in the 2018 election. He seemed, in all things, charmed. Of course, he still lost, but by an unexpectedly small margin, all the while boosting down-ballot candidates in suburban districts he helped to flip.

Since then, O’Rourke has had an eventful few years, as has the nation, and his second campaign for statewide office has been more difficult. Gun-rights protesters and open carriers have been showing up at his events since well before he launched his bid for governor, drawn by O’Rourke’s rash proclamation, during his brief 2020 presidential campaign, that he favored confiscation of semiautomatic weapons. And this past weekend, in a small community an hour north of San Antonio, the O’Rourke campaign, hoping to hold a town hall, tried and failed to secure the use of four different event venues and was effectively run out of town.

This debacle took place in Comal County, the southernmost of the two counties in the Interstate 35 corridor between San Antonio and Austin, which ranks as one of the most Republican areas of the state. But there’s still reason for Democrats to think they can do better here. In 2016, Trump won Comal by fifty points; in 2020, he won by a little more than forty. The county’s major population center, New Braunfels, is one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation.

When O’Rourke’s gubernatorial campaign set out to hold a town hall in Comal County, it aimed not for New Braunfels but for Canyon Lake, population around 30,000. That community, remote and deeply conservative, was the kind O’Rourke had made a special effort to visit in 2018. This time, however, news that O’Rourke would be coming set off agitation in Canyon Lake, especially on social media.

The campaign first announced that O’Rourke would speak at Maven’s Inn & Grill. Some locals threatened to boycott the restaurant if it hosted the event, according to the local news website My Canyon Lake. On Facebook, the restaurant’s patrons made clear their displeasure. “So I heard y’all are hosting Texas’s most famous drunk driver on Saturday,” one wrote, referencing O’Rourke’s 1998 arrest for driving while intoxicated. Maven’s soon canceled the event. Another woman, voicing what clearly was a minority view, objected. “Knuckling under to bullies,” she wrote. “This is how democracy dies and autocrats rise.”

The campaign then announced that it would hold the town hall at Canyon Lake High School. (It’s not uncommon for politicians to rent out school gyms and auditoriums to hold events.) Shortly thereafter, officials with the Comal Independent School District quickly reassured county residents that the event had not been “fully and properly vetted internally,” that the campaign had prematurely announced the town hall, and that the district did not, as a rule, allow rallies to take place on school grounds. Facebook commenters believed they now had Beto on the run. “DON’T BE SURPRISED TJAT BETO WON’T STEAL SOMETHING OUT OF COMAL CTY. OR BIRGLARIZE SOME BUSINESS,” wrote one man, with the tone that’s typical among users of the social network.

The campaign looked for a third venue. It believed it had found one in the Canyon Lake Resource and Recreation Center. But the center, too, backtracked. The head of the nonprofit group that runs it said his team was worried about “safety” at the event and that O’Rourke was polarizing. The campaign then briefly planned to hold an event at the nearby Whitewater Amphitheater, but that offer was rescinded too

Read on to see how closed-minded people did their best to shut down O’Rourke.

Randi Weingarten quoted Chris Rufo’s speech at Hillsdale College, where he called for school choice to break free of public schools, one of our democratically governed local institutions.

He threatened to sue her.

His first tweet:

delete your false tweets and issue an official retraction—or I will unleash hell on you.

He’s complaining about tweets from Randi in this thread.

Here’s the entire speech from Rufo at Hillsdale – Video here

“For example, school choice– to get universal school choice, you really need to operate from a premise of universal public school distrust. Because in order for people to take significant action, they have to feel like they have something at stake.”

—- separately he lays out how to do this –

“And so what we’re seeing, I think, as the first step is a narrative and symbolic war against companies like Disney, for one example.

You have to be very aggressive. You have to fight on terms that you define. You have to create your own frame, your own language, and you have to be ruthless and brutal”

Randi has three things going for her:

1. She quoted Rufo’s words

2. The resources of the AFT.

3. The First Amendment

Go for it, Chris! No empty threats. Show your cards. Get woke.